NFTs are everything that’s wrong with the world – here’s why you shouldn’t be involved with NFTs. John Bridges let’s us know what he thinks about the latest internet sensation, the NFT.
Lead image credit: We Are, Getty Images.
The internet seems to be a place where anyone can come along with a “ground-breaking” idea and then make stupid amounts of money for it. Whether that’s a Kickstarter or IndieGoGo that comes along, promises the world, and then delivers a cheap plastic toy (Yashica Y35) or nothing at all, taking the money and running all the way to the bank.
Well, the latest version of this, is of course NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens), which have come along and promised to make you rich (and famous), selling basically an image, for vast sums of money, making the seller rich, and the buyer an idiot, I mean, the owner of a “one-off” image that only he or she owns. The whole concept is that it is a unique item, and could be anything digital*, but the most talked about is images (photos and art). *Sometimes NFTs can be directly associated with tangible items that could have intrinsic value, although usually they’re not.
If you’re already rich and famous, then you can stand to make even more money, selling something people might have heard of, such as a photo of Paul McCartney’s handwritten notes for ‘Hey Jude’ selling for over $76,000. Remember, they’re not actually buying anything real or physical, but simply a “photo” of something.
“All the other actual items are not for sale and will remain in Julian Lennon’s possession.” – Rolling Stone.
So you don’t actually own the original item, or the original photography or artwork, and the seller can, if they want go on to sell it to other people at any point, especially if they’ve retained the copyright ownership.
In fact, anyone else on the internet who sees the image, can simply screenshot it and take a copy. In fact that’s one of the main benefits of digital files, you can simply right click, save and download, and copy the image as many times as you want.
Can someone point me in the direction of these buyers who are happy to pay ridiculous sums for a digital photo?
Ah… yes, the NFT marketplaces, which themselves have announced that 80% of the transactions taking place on their own platforms are potentially fraudulent, with one of the World’s largest NFT marketplaces, OpenSea admitting that 80% of its NFTs are scams.
So, it’s a system whereby you pay vast amounts of money, don’t actually get anything, except a digital photo or image, and there’s an 80% chance you’ll end up with nothing. Where do I sign up?
Oh and that’s before you even consider the environmental impact these sales have, as the system is built on the incredibly environmentally damaging cryptocurrencies, as these are used for buying and selling NFTs, as well as keeping track of the ownership of the item.
Some have estimated that the sale of a single NFT can have a carbon footprint “equivalent to more than a month’s worth of electricity for a person living in the EU” (the Verge).
If you want to make large amounts of money selling your photography and artwork, then are NFTs the answer? Well, if you’re already famous, like the Beatles, or grimes, you can sell artwork and potentially make millions, but I’m guessing that you’re most likely not the Beatles or grimes.
You could also lose a serious amount of money, whether that’s by being scammed on OpenSea, or spending far too much money on an NFT in the first place, and then losing 99% of its value, like Logan Paul. The value put on the original NFT is only going to be made back if you can then encourage some other person to shell out more money for the same item, but will anyone else share your own beliefs as to how much you think the NFT is worth?
If you’re prepared to spend loads of money on an intangible item with no intrinsic value, you just prove the old saying, a fool and his money are easily parted.
If you’re still not convinced NFTs are a bad idea, have a look at this video (via Fstoppers) from Folding Ideas:
The views expressed in this column are not necessarily those of Amateur Photographer magazine or Kelsey Media Limited. If you have an opinion you’d like to share on this topic, or any other photography related subject email: email@example.com